In August 2021 my essay ‘The Year of the Acorns’, dealing with the experience of defending badgers during the government cull, was published by Dark Mountain as part of their Other Kingdoms series.
“A fern frond, five feet tall, brushes my cheek and I experience it as a kiss. Night walking in ancient English woodland, living things reach out and touch me as I go – plants, branches, falling leaves, sudden drops in temperature, shadows. Hours of tramping have blurred my boundaries, and sometimes I can’t seem to tell any more where I end and the wood begins, or where my feet stop being feet and become part of the cracking twigs beneath them …”
I really loved a piece of correspondence following on from the piece, from Patricia Robertson in central Canada, who directed me to the late poet Don Coles’s ‘Groundhog Testifies’, where dream-like details startlingly echo those from the dream relayed in my own essay, most strikingly a badger who had taken me down into a sett “at dizzying speed”; Coles writes of the badgers’ ground-dwelling cousins, the groundhogs, that they “live at unbelievable speeds”. I enjoyed this synchronicity so much that I now carry a copy of Coles’s poem around with me.
You can read ‘The Year of the Acorns’ here.